Originally Published in the October 1993 issue of The Outfitter Magazine.
In September, NOTO was advised that the Ministry of Natural resources had once again run into difficulties with their resident moose tag draws. Although they could not tell us how severe the problem was at the time, our guess was that the resultant political solution they would come up with could cause operators lots of problems.
I would like to share with you the letter which I sent to Howard Hampton, Minister of Natural Resources:
Dear Mr. Minister:
We were most concerned to hear that your Ministry has had problems again with the Resident Moose tag allocation. Of particular concern is how you will deal with the individuals who applications were misplaced.
One of your predecessors, Allan Pope, chose when it happened to him, to simply award tags to all of those who were left out. This meant additional tags were available and naturally the kill for that year dramatically increased.
When the district Biologists looked at the statistics, they reduced the tags available the next year to compensate. With tourist operators quota being set at ten percent of the resident allocation, we were suddenly hurt because of MNR mismanagement.
It should be no surprise to you by now that there are parts of this province where tourist operators shares and tags have been reduced to the point where they have been virtually put out of the moose business.
It is our understanding after talking to Arnold Beebe of OMAAC that one of the hardest hit areas will be the Kirkland Lake area. Tag operator ratio in this area is one of the worst in the province.
We demand your assurance that no operator in this area will be adversely affected by this year's mistake.
We have also been advised that the loading of applications into the computer was contracted out to a private agency. We see this as very dangerous and suggest to you that based on the sensitivities of this program that you reconsider and in the future have MNR staff look after the program in its entirety.
Our membership are most concerned with this issue and I am sure that there will be some very direct questions to you when you attend our convention in November.
I await your early reply.
As you can see from the letter, a similar solution which was used by Allan Pope could have extreme consequences.
The MNR has advised that the problem may only be 600-700 applications. The hardest hit area is in Kirkland Lake where 70 lost applications have occurred.
My sense is that the MNR is downplaying the size of the problem and the potential impact.
If we look at Kirkland Lake as an example, the impact will not be negligible. Party hunting has increased the resident success rate and that is a fact.
The number of moose killed by those additional 70 tags will cause the district biologist to lower the available tags for next year.
In an area where most operators are already down to one tag, the results will be critical. We may see operators completely knocked out of the moose business.
My letter has alerted the Minister to our concerns. We will voice them to him personally at convention during his accountability panel.
Arnold Beebe who will be hosting a round table will also hear directly from NOTO.
Make sure that when you come to convention that you express your displeasure. It’s a golden opportunity to speak directly to Mr. Hampton.